Renowned Canadian photographer Andrew Miller has announced an exclusive auction featuring the first professional portrait of Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, which will be tokenized as an NFT. This unique auction coincides with the 10th anniversary of the Ethereum concept, a globally recognized open-source, decentralized blockchain known for its smart contract functionality.
The auction is scheduled to begin on July 1st and will run until July 30th on Manifold.xyz, providing collectors with a rare opportunity to acquire a piece of Ethereum’s early history. The starting bid for the portrait is set at 333 ETH.
In an interview with CryptoSlate, Miller revealed the backstory behind the photograph. He explained that the auction is an effort to commemorate and update Ethereum’s history, which had not previously acknowledged his role in creating these iconic portraits. Miller was present during Ethereum’s early days, capturing these portraits and gifting them to a financially struggling teenager, Vitalik Buterin. He recounted losing touch with Buterin and Ethereum as they experienced a meteoric rise. Only recently did he discover the significance of his images in building trust in Buterin and the Ethereum project.
Miller initially initiated the portraits as a gift for Buterin’s non-commercial blog but anticipated that the Ethereum team would require quality photos for commercial purposes. He discussed licensing and copyright buyout terms with Buterin and co-founder Anthony Di Iorio at the time, and even briefly mentioned receiving payment in ETH, which had yet to be produced. Miller estimated that the copyright buyout would have amounted to 3225 ETH, but the details were eventually forgotten as their lives took different paths.
In 2014, when Buterin was just 19 years old, Miller was captivated by his vision for a decentralized future. Impressed by his potential, Miller captured a series of portraits that played a significant role in shaping Buterin’s public image and the perception of Ethereum.
To Miller, these portraits represented more than just visual representations of Buterin; they captured a transformative moment. He described Buterin as a shy and socially naive teenager, but as he spoke about his vision for Ethereum and a decentralized future, his demeanor transformed. Miller observed how Buterin’s posture straightened, and his chin tilted upwards, exuding confidence and determination.
The photographer emphasized that the auction’s significance extends beyond the acquisition of a valuable NFT. The portrait symbolizes Ethereum’s remarkable journey and the collective efforts that have shaped its success.
These portraits have become inseparable from Buterin’s identity and are widely recognized in media, memes, and derivative art. They continue to reinforce the trust and recognition associated with Ethereum. Now that Ethereum has become a leading smart contract platform, the auction of this emblematic piece is expected to generate significant interest among crypto enthusiasts, traders, and institutions alike.